Next Up Columbus 2020: Jaye Turner

Jaye Turner
Jaye Turner

Photo by Matt Reese / CityPulse Columbus

Interview by Sarah Shumick

Name: Jaye Turner
Age: 27
Profession: Founder and Executive Director at El’lesun; Service Reception Coordinator at National Youth Advocate Program
Neighborhood: Grove City
Education: Penn Foster Graduate
Quote: “I am still in awe of where I am today. With all of life’s trials and tribulations I would have to say my faith in God and being able to have the heart of a servant got me to where I am now.”
Connect: Instagram (El’lesun) | Instagram (personal)

As a child, Jaye Turner experienced firsthand the harsh realities of the foster care system. Eventually becoming homeless and a teen mother, Turner soon discovered her faith deeply rooted in Christianity and has since gone on to found El’lesun, an organization dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of those in foster care. Turner attributes her success to her faith in God as well as her ability to “have the heart of a servant.” Outside of her work with El’lesun, Turner enjoys being in nature and writing in her journal, especially at Hoover Dam near Westerville.

Turner knows she has important roles to play in the life of her son, and of those in her community.

“To be chosen for the Next Up Columbus award is first an honor,” she said. “It means a greater level of accountability from my tribe and discipline within myself. This means that I have been given the baton from those who have gone before me and have worked tirelessly in advocating to improve foster care outcomes.”

Give us a snapshot of your career path:
I am still in awe of where I am today. With all of life’s trials and tribulations I would have to say my faith in God and being able to have the heart of a servant got me to where I am now.

What gets you up in the morning? And what gets you through the workweek?
What gets me up in the morning is knowing that I have an important role in my son’s life and in the community that I have been assigned to. Knowing that I’ve made a difference in a child’s life is what gets me through my work week.

What advice has helped guide you along the way?
The advice that has helped me along the way is to “be strong and be courageous.”

What do you do or where do you go to unwind?
To unwind I enjoy journaling by the Hoover Dam lake. Nature brings a supernatural peace.

When you were a kid, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
As a kid I wanted to be a professional Dance Choreographer like Laurieann Gibson. She was my favorite and I just knew that I would have a personal chef when I had made it big.

What books or podcasts are you reading/listening to right now?
A book that I am reading currently is “You are Enough” by Mandy Hale
A podcast I am currently listening to is by Transformation Church with Pastor Michael Todd. I am catching up on the “Crazy Faith” series.

What does it mean to you to be chosen for the Next Up Columbus award?
To be chosen for the Next Up Columbus award is first an honor, it means a greater level of accountability from my tribe and discipline within myself. This means that I have been given the baton from those who have gone before me and have worked tirelessly in advocating to improve foster care outcomes.

If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them?
I would tell them that the people who are out here making a difference, impacting their community, and creating change are the pulse, they are who keeps this city alive.


The Next Up Columbus Awards highlight emerging leaders who are connectors and ambassadors in Central Ohio and who are making a positive impact on the future of Columbus. Special thanks to the Columbus Young Professionals Club, Discover Financial, and Zipline Logistics for their support of this awards program. Meet the entire “Class of 2020” »

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